BARI - 3 DECEMBER 2019: A Nativity scene sign is seen above a banner advertising fresh home-made orecchiette in the historical center of Bari, Italy, on December 3rd 2019.
The orecchiette are Bari's trademark ear-shaped pasta.
According to the mayor’s office, in mid October police inspectors busted a local restaurant for serving untraceable orecchiette, a violation of Italian and European Union regulations that require food in restaurants to be clearly sourced. The police fined the restaurateur and forced him to trash three kilos of pasta.
The suspected orecchiette suppliers are permitted to sell small plastic baggies of pasta for personal use, but are not licensed to deal large, unlabeled shipments to restaurants. The fear in a city where many families have their go-to pasta lady, is that Italy’s zeal for regulations, however often ignored, risk shutting down a source of local pride that is one of Bari’s biggest tourist attractions.